Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna
The Faculty of Arts of the University of Jaffna is one of the largest faculties in Sri Lankan Universities comprising 17 departments with 22 study disciplines. Currently, the faculty of Arts is one of the major stakeholders of the University of Jaffna with the highest student population and academic disciplines. The Faculty of Arts is unique in its traditional and cultural background. It has adopted dynamic policies for quality in education and focuses on a contemporary approach toward teaching, learning and research activities. It has been known internationally for its scholarship and contribution to the field of Tamil Studies.
The subjects offered by the Faculty of Arts for the Bachelor of Arts Degree Programme: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Christian Civilization, Cultural Tourism, Drama and Theatre Arts, Economics, English Literature, English Language Teaching (ELT), Geography, History, Home Economics, Linguistics, Media Studies, Philosophy, Planning, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Tamil, Translation Studies, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT).
The subjects offered for the Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree Programme: Archaeology, Art History, Christian Civilization, Cultural Tourism, Drama and Theatre Arts, Economics, English Literature, Geography, History, Home Economics, Linguistics, Media Studies, Philosophy, Planning, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Tamil and Translation Studies.
Salient Landmarks of the Development
The establishment of a full-fledged University in Jaffna had been a long-standing aspiration of the people of Jaffna. This was fulfilled when a campus of the University of Sri Lanka was established with the proposed Faculties of Science, Law, Humanities and a Department of Physical Education in 1974 by an order made by the Honourable Minister of Education at the Parameshwara College premises, Thirunelvely as the nucleus. Parameshwara College was founded by the veteran philanthropist Sir Pon Ramanathan in August 1921.
On 19 July 1974, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sri Lanka announced the appointment of Dr.K.Kailasapathy, Head of the Dept. of Tamil and Hindu studies of the Vidyalankara Campus of the University of Sri Lanka is the first President of the Jaffna Campus.
Although approval was granted for the study of Science, Law, Humanities and Physical Education, only the Faculties of Humanities and Science were established in October 1974. On 01 October 1974, Prof.P.Kanagasabapathy, Head of the Dept. of Mathematics at the Peradeniya Campus, and Dr.K.Indrapala, Senior Lecturer in History at the Peradeniya Campus were appointed as the first Deans of the Faculties of Science and Humanities respectively.
The Faculty of Humanities which was started with four Departments of studies namely, Hindu Civilization, History, Sinhala and Tamil was renamed the Faculty of Arts in 1975, increasing the number of departments of studies to nine including the new Departments namely, Economics (housed Sociology, Political Science and Commerce until 1998), Geography, Sanskrit, Philosophy and Language and Cultural Studies.
With the implementation of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978, and by Gazette notification dated December 22, 1978, the Jaffna Campus became an independent and autonomous University with the name the University of Jaffna with effect from January 01, 1979.
After its elevation, the Faculty of Arts has developed itself with multidimensional growth with the inception of new study streams.
The discipline of Christian Civilization was created as a unit in 1979. In 1980, the Department of Education was established with facilities for Postgraduate Studies which consisted of Postgraduate Diplomas, Master’s Degrees and Doctorate Degrees.
A Centre for Teaching English as a Second Language was established in 1981 and later it was elevated to Department status in 2019.
The Department of Fine Arts was established at the University of Jaffna in 1982 to accommodate the Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts (RAFA) into the University system. In 1991, with the creation of the Department of Music and Department of Dance, RAFA was separated from the Department of Fine Arts. In 1999 a new discipline called Art and Design was added to the Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts.
Under the Department of Fine Arts, Drama and Theatre Arts was introduced as a General Degree in 1986 and Honors Degree was introduced in 1988 and the Department began to offer course units for a Bachelor of Arts General degree in Fine Arts (Art History) from 1985 and an Honours degree in 1991. The study programme was renamed Art History with the approval of the UGC in 2020.
Following the ethnic disturbances in 1983, the Siddha section of the Institute of Indigenous Medicine, affiliated with the University of Colombo was transferred to the University of Jaffna on 02 July 1984 and placed as a department under the Faculty of Arts. Since 01 October 1993, the Department of Siddha Medicine has been functioning as a separate unit under the direct administration of the Vice-Chancellor.
The Department of Language and Cultural Studies was split into the Departments of Linguistics and English and the Department of Christian and Islamic Civilizations in 1989.
In 1998, The UGC decided to admit to following Hindu Philosophy as a new discipline for General and Special Degrees under the Department of Hindu Civilization. In the same year, Psychology was introduced as a new study discipline and still, it is under the Department of Philosophy.
The Department of Political Science and Sociology was created in July 1998 which were already existing as a discipline in the department of Economics since 1977. The Department of Sociology and Political Science was bifurcated into the Department of Sociology and the Department of Political Science in 2007.
In July 1999 the present Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce was carved out from the Faculty of Arts where the disciplines of Commerce and Management Studies were part of the Department of Commerce.
The Department of Law was created in May 2005. The Faculty of Arts was further expanded by the introduction of new disciplines, namely, Home Economics (2001), Anthropology (2001), Planning (2002), Archaeology (2003), Media Studies (2008), Translation Studies (2010) and Cultural Tourism (2017). The Media Studies, Translation Studies and the Department of English Language Teaching were established as Departments in 2019. The Department of Information and Communication Technology was created in 2022.
On the 18th of March 2019, the Faculty of Hindu Studies was created incising two Departments from the Faculty of Arts, namely, the Department of Hindu Civilization and the Department of Sanskrit.
In 2022, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan Faculty of Performing and Visual Arts was created incising two Departments from the Faculty of Arts, namely, Departments of Dance and Music.
The Faculty of Arts offers a full range of Social Science and Humanities degree programmes. Most of the Departments run Postgraduate Programmes leading to Postgraduate Diploma, M.A., M.Phil. and PhD.
There are currently seventeen Departments which offer General degrees in 22 study disciplines and Special degree courses in 23 study disciplines and offer BA and LLB Degrees.